Developing well-rounded, respectful Welsh citizens

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Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Glantaf is a supportive and welcoming school community. This is reflected in the school’s curriculum and wider activities.

Number of learners: 1,132
Age range: 11-18
Date of inspection: May 2017

Information about the school

Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Glantaf is a designated Welsh-medium school for pupils between 11 and 18 years old, and there are 1,132 pupils on roll.  The school is situated in Llandaff North and serves the centre of the city of Cardiff, from north to south.  Seventeen point nine per cent (17.9%) of pupils live in areas that are among the 20% most disadvantaged in Wales, and 10.1% of pupils are eligible for free school meals.  Approximately 36% of pupils come from Welsh-speaking homes, but all pupils study Welsh as a first language.  A very small percentage of pupils come from ethnic minority backgrounds.  The school admits pupils from the full range of ability.  Twenty per cent (20%) of pupils are on the additional learning needs register, and a little over 1% of pupils have a statement of special educational needs.  A resource centre for pupils with profound learning needs from all parts of the local education authority is situated at the school, and it has 12 pupils.

Context and background to sector-leading practice

Some years ago, the school created a simple, 3 word Statement: ‘Welshness, Courtesy, Respect’, and the school’s main aspirations are reflected in this statement and in the school’s motto: ‘Coron Gwlad ei Mamiaith’ (The Crowning Glory of a country is its language).  The aim is simply to create a welcoming, supportive and welcoming school community, and well-rounded, respectful Welsh citizens.  These aims permeate throughout the school’s calendar and activities.

Description of the nature of the strategy or activity

  • The school has a strong pastoral system that places an emphasis on knowing the individual, in terms of their background, academic needs and wellbeing.  A strong sense of pride and academic ambition is promoted among pupils.
  • Pupils’ various backgrounds are considered and valued, and the curriculum and wider activities support equality by providing an opportunity for all individuals to develop academically and socially.
  • Particular provision is provided to promote the values of good citizenship and morality e.g. morning sessions, which include a broad programme of interesting spiritual or moral activities.  Values such as honesty, fairness and respect are promoted consistently e.g. through religious education lessons, pupils are given opportunities to reflect on their own lives and beliefs and those of others, their environment and the human condition, and to consider life’s fundamental questions.  Great emphasis is placed on being a community, and pupils contribute generously to community activities and charities.
  • One of the school’s exceptional features is the participation and success of a high percentage of pupils in sports, music and drama locally, nationally and internationally.  Pupils are given opportunities to meet and socialise with peers and adults, which provides them with rich experiences.  All pupils are encouraged to take part in all of our extra-curricular activities e.g. art, ICT, science, debating, Sgwad Sgwennu (Writing Squad), Christian Club, visits etc.
  • The school’s personal and social education programme is full of contemporary and useful activities that help to prepare pupils for all aspects of life e.g. sex and relationship education, living safely and how to be a good citizen.  The school continues to teach the subject for 1 lesson every fortnight to everyone in KS3 and everyone in KS4 that does not study Triple Science, and it can be seen from questionnaires that pupils benefit from this arrangement.
  • In terms of the School Council, 6 different committees (with up to 80 pupils in each) have been established – the Pupil’s Voice (a committee to seek pupils’ views on all aspects of school life), BYG (Byw yn y Gymraeg), Environment, CyfarTaf (a committee to promote equality in all areas), Health and Food and Sports, which enable a very high percentage of pupils to have a say in the school’s decisions.
  • The school has a strong house system that offers a variety of activities for all pupils.  Meetings are held every fortnight and whole-school festivals are held every term e.g. a school Eisteddfod, Sports Festival.  The Eisteddfod is a large event where the registration period is extended to 40 minutes for a half-term in order for pupils to work together; this contributes extensively to the sense of belonging and the school’s supportive social ethos.
  • A stimulating working environment and a motivational atmosphere are provided e.g. classrooms, corridors and public spaces are decorated with pupils’ work, posters and displays, and the school has a wide range of up-to-date high quality learning resources.
  • There is broad provision in terms of support for pupils e.g. there is a buddy scheme between the older and younger pupils, ELA, Talkabout, the Seren organisation that is run by the sixth form and provides an opportunity for younger pupils to discuss any problems, a counsellor, nurse, police officer, key worker, External Youth Mentor etc.  In addition, the school works with a wide range of external agencies in order to support pupils’ wellbeing, health and social development.
  • We have given priority to pupils developing positive mental health.  The subject is discussed in assemblies, PSE lessons, ‘Munud i Feddwl’ (A Pause for Thought), the Pupil’s Voice and relaxation and mindfulness sessions are held each week, which have had a positive effect on pupils’ wellbeing across the school.
  • There are effective arrangements for identifying, supporting and monitoring pupils’ additional learning needs, which include a wide range of effective strategies and arrangements.
  • The school has a resource centre for pupils with profound learning difficulties, and it is ensured that pupils integrate successfully into the life of the mainstream school and benefit fully from the extensive extra-curricular opportunities that are available.  This enriches the learning experiences of all pupils at the school.
  • There are strong transition schemes between the school and primary schools; up to 10 events are held each year and, therefore, primary pupils become familiar with the school’s standards and ethos before they become pupils here.

What effect has this work had on provision and learners’ standards?

  • Pupil and parent questionnaires show satisfaction with the school – in the latest questionnaires, nearly all pupils noted that they enjoy being pupils at the school, and most parents said that pupils liked the school.
  • A prominent feature of the school is the civilised behaviour of nearly all pupils in lessons and around the school, and they treat their fellow pupils, the school’s staff and visitors with a very high level of respect.
  • Most pupils feel that the staff respect them and that the school helps them to understand and respect people from other backgrounds.
  • All of the extra-curricular opportunities increase pupils’ self-worth and communication and social skills, which helps them to become good citizens.
  • All opportunities through the Pupil’s Voice increase pupils’ self-worth, self-respect and communication skills, and ensure that equality is given a prominent focus.
  • The various aspects of support that are available contribute extensively to pupils’ mental health.

How have you shared your good practice?

Locally, across the county and nationally, the school’s reputation is subject to praise in a number of extra-curricular areas, and our good practice is shared regularly through newsletters and social media, such as Twitter.  Good practice is shared between schools through fora such as CYDAG, and locally through BroPlasTaf.